Our work with Native Nations has taught us much about cultural design

We have learned the line is thin between culturally reflective and cultural mimicry. We have learned to ask questions about identity within a larger conversation of cultural experience.

We believe every space and place holds the power to foster community and culture.

For us, the question is not how to apply tribal identity, but how to integrate cultural experience. Community authorship, culturally-attuned references, and design involvement by many – from client staff to youth to elders – all help foster self-determination by allowing communities to control and shape their future. This results in distinctive and beautifully designed master plans, project sites, and built structures. This enables the spaces, both within and outside the structures, to shape human movement and create experiences that speak the language of the people. At Blue Star, we find truth and success in this approach when working with communities that hold value in culture and belonging.

Our philosophy and values

Whether it was coming together in prior generations as a tribe to gather food, medicine and living quarters for the different moons of the year or planning for retirement, healthcare and affordable housing today, our Seven Generations philosophy teaches us to the value of working together to plan for our shared future and for what may come for relatives we will never meet.

Wisdom | Mbwakawenewen

To cherish knowledge is to know Wisdom. Wisdom is given by the Creator to be used for the good of the people.

Love | Debandewen

To know peace is to know Love. Love must be unconditional. When people are weak they need love the most.

Respect | Wdetenmewen

To honor all creation is to have Respect. All of creation should be treated with respect. You must give respect if you wish to be respected.

Bravery | Wedasewen

Bravery is to face the foe with integrity. To do what is right even when the consequences are unpleasant.

Honesty | Kwekwadzewen

Honesty in facing a situation is to be brave. Always be honest in word and action. Be honest first with yourself, and you will more easily be able to be honest with others.

Humility | Edbesendowen

Humility is to know yourself as a sacred part of Creation. You are equal to others, but you are not better.

Truth | Debwewen

Truth is to know all of these things. Speak the truth. Do not deceive yourself or others.


Our relationships and work with Indigenous communities and partners has shaped us

We have learned some about many traditions. We have witnessed the ways tribes keep their traditions, while acknowledging the need to grow and adapt. We’ve seen struggles with health and homelessness, the effects of generational trauma, and the search for wholeness and dignity. We’ve seen new ideas and new prosperity creating self-sufficiency and momentum. And we are part of it; the holding on and the letting go, the influence of ancestors and worldview of youth. Past, present, and future challenges and opportunities exist within the planning, design, and construction of every project Blue Star takes part in. We believe that engaging with such a diverse group of tribes, that share so much in common, makes us better designers and people. Our experiences influence our practice and humbly shape our role as design professionals.

Success and growth driven by the Bodwé vision

As wholly owned companies of the Pokagon Band, the mission and values we hold, and the name we have chosen, lead us to brave and meaningful service for Indigenous, civic, veteran, student, patient, and wildlife communities.


Awards & Recognitions

We are honored to be recognized by other organizations for our innovative solutions. Here are a few.


Outstanding Place and Design

Gateway to the North Masterplan Study
Arizona State University & Construction in Indian Country

Honor Award

Arcadia Festival Place Master Plan
AIA Southwest Michigan

Impact Award

Steve VandenBussche, AIA, LEED AP
AIA Southwest Michigan

Contact us

If you are interested in beginning a new project, you are a potential teaming partner, or you just want to chat about great architecture and engineering, please drop us a note.


320 S. Boston Ave.
Suite 1710
Tulsa, OK 74103

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